Chombo and his deputy row over suspension of Gwanda mayor

A bitter war of words has broken out between Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and his deputy Minister, Sesil Zwidzai, over the suspension of Gwanda Mayor Lionel De Necker.


Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo

De Necker, from the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, received a letter of suspension from Chombo last week after he refused to appoint a ZANU PF functionary as a Gwanda Municipality Chamber secretary. Chombo accused De Necker of insubordination for defying his order.

However Zwidzai has dismissed as a ‘non-event’ the suspension of De Necker. Zvidza, from the MDC-T, also called for the amendment of the Urban Council’s Act, which he said was being abused by his boss.

The deputy Minister said De Necker could still go to work, accusing Chombo of ‘going wild shooting at everybody using the Act.’

‘The guy still can’t face the reality that his ZANU PF party is no longer running the country’s urban councils. The dismissal is a nullity and the Mayor should go back to work,’ Zwidzai told the weekly Zimbabwe Standard.

Over the weekend the Ncube led MDC said it would challenge the dismissal of its Mayor by Chombo. The ZANU PF legislator has been notorious for dismissing MDC elected Mayors and councilors during his reign as Local Government Minister.

Earlier this year Chombo suspended Mutare Mayor Brian James on allegations of misconduct. In 2003 he fired Harare’s first publicly elected Mayor, the MDC-T’s Elias Mudzuri. Over the years he has on numerous occasions suspended councilors from the MDC-T for alleged incompetence.

He accuses the MDC-T councils of maladministration and rampant corruption, allegations the Morgan Tsvangirai party vehemently deny. In turn, the MDC-T accuses Chombo of deliberately seeking to destabilise the municipalities under its control in a desperate attempt to reverse the gains scored by the party in the 2008 elections.

Four years ago the MDC-T swept all cities and major town in the local government elections.

- SW Radio Africa News

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